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Family Mediation and Dispute Resolution Tasmania
At Positive Solutions, our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners can assist you by providing helpful information, resources and facilitated negotiation. This may relate to parenting, grand parenting, property and financial matters.
We can assist you and your family to cope with the upheaval of separation and divorce. This includes decisions for post-separation parenting and/or property division. Our child centred service keeps children’s best interests at the core of all negotiations.
Post Separation Counselling
What services are available?
Our experienced counsellors are able to provide you with support through your separation. This support may be about hurt feelings, problems between you and your partner or another person in the family, new living arrangements and issues relating to the care of your children and financial adjustments.
Our experienced Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are able to assist you and your partner in parenting and/or property matters. This service is known as family mediation and is a requirement for parenting under the Family Law Act.
What happens in dispute resolution for property?
After the initial individual session(s), your FDRP will guide you through a structured discussion to determine the property pool including:
- Establishing agreed values of all assets
- Identifying debts and liabilities and who has responsibility for them
- Calculating net worth
- Considering non-financial and financial contributions
- Ascertaining future needs
Once the relevant factors have been identified, your FDRP will facilitate a negotiation based on your options and proposals, enabling you to compare and test these against your financial situation.
Property settlement agreements are not legal documents but can be used as the basis for legally binding orders such as Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement which is a discrete and separate step.
What is discussed in family dispute resolution or parenting mediation?
- How to support children through separation
- Parental communication
- Time arrangements including school term, holidays and special days
- School related issues
- Contact with extended family members and significant others
- Decision making
- Financial concerns
- Managing future conflicts
- Blending families
- Special needs
What is a parenting plan?
If you are able to reach agreement about parenting matters, your FDRP will draft a parenting plan which records agreements about time arrangements, how you will communicate and make decisions, education related topics, managing costs related to children, travel, emergencies and any other areas that are relevant to your family. A parenting plan is not legally binding but will be given consideration by the court if signed and dated.
Child Inclusive Mediation
What is the CIP process?
1. Where there is agreement from both parents to proceed, individual sessions are booked with the Child Inclusive Practitioner where they discuss the children and their current situation and explain how they will work with the children in the session.
2. The children attend an individual session(s).
3. The Child Inclusive Practitioner provides feedback to the parents and the FDRP about the children’s session.
4. The information and insights from this session can assist parents in decision-making in their FDR appointment.
What happens in my children’s session?
Child Inclusive Practice provides an opportunity for children to share their stories through therapeutic play and guided talk with a Child Inclusive Practitioner in a safe and supportive environment. At your individual session, the Child Inclusive Practitioner will discuss the tools and techniques they may use to scaffold the session.
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP)
FDRPs have qualifications in social sciences, conflict management and law. They are accredited and registered with the Attorney Generals Department.
FDRPs assist you to identify your needs and concerns, explore and develop options and proposals, and guide your discussions towards future focussed decision making.
When Should I Access the Services?
If you are thinking of separating or have made a decision to separate, you can Book An Appointment with an FDRP who will assist you with information and resources.
If you’re seeking Consent Orders regarding your children, FDR is a mandatory (with some exceptions) first step.
What Happens In The Mediation Process?
- Intake: You will attend a confidential individual intake session with the FDRP who will discuss your needs and concerns, gather relevant details into the history of the issues. They will also talk to you about your children and discuss the next steps.
- Pre-mediation: You will attend a further individual session to assist you to define your agenda and to help you to prepare to participate in the joint session.
- Dispute Resolution or mediation: Both parties attend a joint* session where they identify the issues in dispute, develop options and proposals and work towards reaching an agreement. Subsequent sessions may be required to address the issues. *The option of Shuttle mediation- or mediation in separate spaces- can be discussed with your practitioner.
- Agreement signing: Where FDR results in an agreement your FDRP will draft a parenting plan or property agreement which you are invited to sign and date.
- If the FDR process is unable to proceed your FDRP will issue you with a 60I certificate.
What Will It Cost?
Your first individual session is free. Positive Solutions receives funding to provide FDR services and our costs are calculated in relation to your income. Please contact us for more information.
This activity received grant funding from the Australian Government.
How Do I Attend?
Positive Solutions has offices across Tasmania and appointments are available face to face, via phone or online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lawyer if I use family mediation?
Not necessarily, but we recommend that you seek independent legal advice about the issues that you are hoping to resolve through mediation. Mediators cannot give you advice and you must engage a lawyer or lawyers for an agreement to be made legally binding
What are my rights regarding my children if I have separated?
Every family’s individual situation is different so there is no standard that can be applied. Children have a right to safety and a right to have a relationship with both parents.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of joint sessions required really depends on the complexity of the issues discussed.
I want to be able to see my kids but haven’t for years. Is there anything I can do?
People who find themselves in this situation can attend an intake to discuss the circumstances of loss of contact and your hopes for re-establishing a relationship. If It is appropriate, we may invite your children’s other parent into the mediation process.
What is a section 60i Certificate and what does it mean?
S60I Certificates are required by the court to indicate whether Family Dispute Resolution has been attempted or not. This is because FDR is mandatory under the Family Law act- but with some exceptions.
The certificates define 5 categories including:
- Refusal or failure to attend*
- Matter inappropriate for mediation
- Genuine effort
- Non-genuine effort
- Became inappropriate after commencement.
*Refusal or failure to attend may result in costs being awarded against you by the court.
You must attend an individual session with us to be able to obtain a 60I certificate.
There’s a Family Violence Order in place. Can I still attend?
You will be asked to bring a copy of your Police/ Family Violence Order to your first session so that we can ensure that we are not in breach of it if we invite the other party. The dynamics of family violence can impact people in different ways so it is important to let your mediator know how they can support you.
There are no orders in place but I have experienced family violence. How can you help me?
Mediators are trained in understanding and recognising types of family violence and the impacts FV can have on families and children. Talk to your mediator about what you have experienced and they will suggest options for keeping you safe and supporting you throughout the process.
Why can’t we go straight to mediation?
The individual sessions are designed to answer your questions, give you information about the process and importantly, to give you a chance to share your experience of the dispute without the other party present. The more the mediator understands your unique situation, the better they can assist you both.
Do grandparents have rights too?
Grandparents do have rights under the Family Law Act and Positive Solutions provides the same service for parents and grandparents under Family Dispute Resolution.
I need a support person. Can my new partner come to mediation with me?
Support people are welcome to attend individual sessions and we ask them to sign a confidentiality clause and to refrain from having verbal input into the session. We need the permission of both parties to support people to attend the joint session.
What does confidentiality actually mean?
Confidentiality means that whatever is discussed in individual sessions is between you are your practitioner. However, mediators are mandated notifiers so if something is disclosed that constitutes a threat of harm to a child or an adult, they have a duty of care to report it.
Fact or Fiction
Myth 1: Your family mediators take sides.
False! Our mediators are a completely independent party and are trained to remain impartial during the mediation.
Myth 2: We have to talk about parenting and property matters in the same session.
False! Both parenting and property can be difficult discussions to have and we recognise the importance of each topic. For this reason, we will only discuss one topic at a time but the order is completely up to you and the other party.
Myth 3: I have to be in the same room as my ex-partner.
False! If it is unsafe for you or will be more beneficial to the session, you can request to have the mediation in separate rooms.
Myth 4: My kids don’t have a say.
False! We offer Child Inclusive Mediation where a child consultant will sit down with the child or children to get an idea of their experience within your family. All parenting mediations are focused on what is in the best interests of the child.
Myth 5: I don’t have kids, so I don’t need to attend mediation.
False! We also offer mediation for property matters and division of assets. Property mediation is collaborative and attempts to accommodate to the unique situation of the involved parties
Myth 6: I have to attend mediation on my own.
False! You are able to have a support person with you*. This can be a friend, family member or new partner.
*The other party must consent to your support person for the mediation. You can discuss this further with your mediator in your intake session.
Myth 7: My ex-partner will find out what I have said in my intake.
False! Intake sessions are completely confidential. The mediator will not disclose anything you have said in your intake to your ex-partner. Your intake session is an opportunity for you to speak freely.
Myth 8: I have a family violence order or restraining order. I can’t attend mediation.
False! We can still facilitate a safe and collaborative mediation that is line with the requirements of your family violence order or restraining order.
Myth 9: Decisions have to be made on the day.
False! Decisions do not have to be made on the same day. Mediation looks different for every single situation and we have many options to make the process as comfortable as possible, both for you and the other party. If you have any concerns, you can discuss your options with your mediator either in session with the other party present, or in private.
Myth 10: The mediators will tell me what to do.
False! Mediators do not make decisions. They are there to facilitate a collaborative conversation between you and the other party. They can provide information if necessary but cannot provide legal advice. They are also independent and impartial.
Myth 11: I don’t have an income or I have a very low income. I won’t be able to attend mediation.
False! Mediation is the best option for you. It’s more efficient and cost effective and we don’t want cost to be a barrier to anyone. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, please call us on 6223 5612. and we can discuss some options with you.
Get In Touch Today.
Positive Solutions has offices located in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport.
Hobart Office: 165 Davey Street, Hobart TAS 7000
Launceston Office: 76 York Street, Launceston TAS 7250